College of Education and Rehabilitation
Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies
Students gain hands-on instruction and laboratory practice (using low vision simulators and blindfolds) in the methods and adaptive techniques.
Programs for Teachers of Children with Blindness and Visual Impairment
Master of Education and Certificate Programs
The College of Education and Rehabilitation offers a Master of Education (MEd) in Blindness and Visual Impairment degree program, and a certificate program for Education of Children with Blindness and Visual Impairment. These competency-based programs offer coursework and practical experiences that develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for the instruction of infants, children and youth who are totally blind or visually impaired, and those with multiple disabilities.
Students successfully completing the curriculum are prepared for certification by the state credentialing body in Pennsylvania. The master’s degree program offers students the possibility of reciprocity of certification in other states. Both programs are offered for part and full-time study, with coursework primarily online during the fall and spring terms, and a four-week summer residency at Salus University for two summers.
Requirements For Certification
Individuals entering the program must meet the minimum requirements of the College of Education and Rehabilitation (see Admissions Requirements) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements, which must be met for certification in Pennsylvania. These requirements depend upon whether the individual already holds a teaching certificate in another area, or wishes to earn his or her initial certificate. Those applicants who enter the program without any teaching certificate are considered “initial certificate” applicants. Those applicants who enter with an additional certificate already in hand are considered “advanced certificate” applicants.
Teacher of the Visually Impaired
In order to obtain a Pennsylvania certificate as a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has established requirements (listed below) for teacher certification in visual impairment.
A candidate who does not hold a teaching certificate in the Commonwealth is considered an applicant for Initial Certification.
A candidate who already holds a teaching certificate is considered an applicant for Advanced Certification.
Candidates for both initial and advanced certification must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Upon completion of the program, Pennsylvania requires that the applicant take the appropriate PRAXIS 2 examination in Visual Impairments. These change from time to time and should be verified with the Educational Testing Service as to requirements in Pennsylvania at the time of completion of the program. Students who reside in another state must follow that state’s requirements for licensure and certification.
Applicants to the Teacher of the Visually Impaired program must submit copies of current state and federal background clearances at the time of application to the program.
Applicants who do not have certification in Special Education may have to take additional courses to obtain their master’s degree or certification.
Sequence of TVI courses: Master of Education and Certificate Programs
The program director and the student jointly plan an individualized program of studies that will accommodate either full or part time status, and will ensure appropriate course sequencing and integration. Some courses have prerequisites which must be taken into account in planning the program of studies. Students may enroll during any semester. The internship (student teaching) is the last course which students complete. (see Course Descriptions).
Those individuals, who wish to receive the Master of Education (MEd) degree in addition to certification as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, will complete one additional course: Critical Analysis of Research. In addition, candidates must pass the TVI comprehensive examination. In general, students who are seeking to complete the master’s degree on a part-time basis may do so in approximately two years and one semester, depending upon the semester in which they begin classes. A student seeking to complete the master’s degree on a full-time basis may do so within one year and one semester – again, dependent upon the time of enrollment.
Students accepted into either program who have a minimum entering grade point average of 3.0 and are citizens of the United States may qualify for tuition scholarships. Since these scholarships are funded by the Unites States Office of Special Education (OSEP), they are required to “pay back” their scholarship through years of service in the field of special education.